Hello, and Merry Post-Christmas; did y’all have a good holiday?
On the day after Christmas 2005, I made a trek toward Donaldsonville in the hopes of seeing and photographing something on what was left of the former Texas & Pacific Railway branchline to Napoleonville and Thibodaux. At the time, all that remained of the branchline was a stretch of a few miles from the mainline at Donaldsonville to a sugar mill at Lula, in Belle Rose in Assumption Parish.
The Acadiana Railway operated this line starting sometime around September 2000 when it leased operations from Union Pacific, and I think that service stopped in or before 2012.
I never saw or got any photographs of action on this line. My most photographically productive visit of this line was on this day, when I just got a few static shots of a parked locomotive.
I just love the locomotive in the sugarcane field; there is just something spiritual about that, particularly for me, having been created by the land that is used in this way.
My guess is that a crew out of Opelousas would shuttle over here and work the line about once per week. Opelousas is almost two hours away, meaning that the crew would have been on-duty for almost three hours by the time that its members climbed into the locomotive, but I guess that the work here could still be done within the 12-hour limit, though perhaps the impracticality of this arrangement is partly what eventually doomed the operation.
This locomotive is a former Atlon & Southern locomotive, and I have no idea why the shielding on the windows exists.
That line once hosted trains that went all the way to Thibodaux.
I wish that I had gotten some pictures of tank cars spotted at the mill; unfortunately, I did not, and, unfortunately, it can’t ever be done now, meaning that you’ve just seen all of my pictures of the Acadiana Railway on the ex-T&P branchline to Napoleonville.
Originally, the T&P built branches down either side of Bayou Lafourche, the branch on the western bank going to Napoleonville, and the branch on the eastern bank going to Thibodaux. Sometime in or about the mid-1930s, the T&P built a connection between the two branches across Bayou Lafourche at Napoleonville, allowing it to abandon the part of the branchline on the eastern bank between Donaldsonville and Napoleonville; this, the branchline to Thibodaux became one that started in Donaldsonville, going down the western bank of Bayou Lafourche until Napoleonville where it crossed the bayou and then made its way to Thibodaux via the eastern bank.
The bridge in Napoleonville still exists, today serving as a pedestrian bridge, convenient for Napoleonville students attending Assumption High School.
Anyway, since we are in the area, let’s head to Donaldsonville itself and check out what is parked on the locomotive track.
You might recall that I visited here in mid-October.
Hey, that’s neat, isn’t it? I’m sure that that thing was riding out its last days (as a locomotive.)
Nine minutes later, and, exactly where, I do not know, but somewhere with the maximum distance that I could have driven in nine minutes, we see this.
That is one of my rare Livonia Subdivision pictures not taken in Waggaman or Avondale.
Heading back south again, for some reason, I next arrive in Schriever where, on the Lafayette Subdivision, the westbound Sunset Limited is making its stop.
Next, I guess that I just have no choice but to chase this thing west to Berwick, right?
That’s how I spent my time back then.
Hours later, I’m either still here or I am back here, and I get this.
Okay, that, thankfully, is enough!
Stay tuned for some Gretna goodness tomorrow.